CHICAGO – This afternoon, Gov. Pat Quinn signed SB 957 into law, granting illegal aliens state-issued driver’s licenses in Illinois. The new law does not require fingerprinting, a valid passport, or proof of auto insurance.
In response, activist William J. Kelly announced an effort to repeal the bill on the basis that it represents a serious threat to public safety.
“This bill has been fast-tracked from the beginning. The citizens of Illinois did not want this bill. Law enforcement did not want this bill,” said Kelly. “Politicians wanted this bill for political reasons, not public policy. It’s just more pay-to-play politics in Illinois.”
Kelly believes politicians not only ignored the strong opposition from law enforcement but participated in dishonest tactics to get the bill to the Illinois house floor. He intends to organize a state-wide petition drive to put a referendum on the ballot.
"Keep in mind that 16 of 18 states that had similar legislation have already repealed it," Kelly says. "I guarantee you we will be the 17th."
According to Kelly, the "Illinois Association of Police Chiefs strongly opposed the bill. Only three Illinois sheriffs supported the measure. Sheriff Mark Curran who recently compared U.S. immigration law to Nazis was the only member of law enforcement to testify in favor of the bill."
Driver’s license fraud is rampant in the states that have granted driver’s licenses for undocumented workers. In June, nine people were arrested in a national driver’s license fraud ring in New Mexico involving the sale of hundreds of illegal licenses to foreigners in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Documents like rental agreements, utility bills, vehicle titles, and proof of insurance were forged to get the licenses. Illinois currently has a problem with a Chinatown driver’s license ring being investigated by the FBI involving the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has made past statements against the use of consular IDs, saying they invite fraud. But the ICIRR recommended the use of consular IDs in the Illinois legislation. Consular IDs – not valid passports – are the only requirement.
“All we have heard from SB 957’s proponents in Springfield is that we – the people of Illinois – need to “trust them” on this bill," said Kelly. "Illinois politicians tell us that they know what they are doing and there won’t be any fraud or abuse. But Illinois politicians haven’t earned our trust.”